Day 2: What's the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for Launch?

One of the beauties of camping is that once it's light, you're awake! Cue me firing up the laptop at around 5:30 a.m. I managed to do more writing about the various features of the product, and research into how to achieve these. After breakfast I spoke to my wife and children over Skype, who are in the Czech Republic. Who'd have thought I'd be able to have video streaming working, from a wood, on the top of a hill.

I packed my camp up and after a couple of 15 minute hikes back down to my car, I was ready to do another couple of hours work. The campsite I was staying at (Ruberslaw Wild Woods Camping, Hawick; highly recommended) has the wild pitches (with basics nearby such as water butts, and a composting toilet); and also a large barn style shelter with all mod cons, including great wifi. This was a perfect area for me to work. I settled down at a big table, connected my laptop to their wifi, and I was off. It was such a great environment to work in (I even had a chicken come and visit me at one point!), I stayed longer than I'd planned to.

I finally left and set off for Fife where I was meeting a guy called Chris Marr (He's a content marketing expert, do check him out here). I initially heard about Chris from a friend of mine (Stefan Thomas, who knows everything about you need to know about business networking, more info here). After listening to Chris' podcasts and loving his work, I joined his online community on Facebook. We've "spoken" on there (and every other way you can communicate) but never met up before. We had a great lunch together and had a massive chat about all sorts; fatherhood, productivity, networking, and new technology. Chris really is a great guy and just as I expected him to be. It really shows how well you can build relationships online, that also then work offline.

When I left I headed straight to the campsite I'd chosen. This was only five minutes away and is tucked away in the woods. I'd found the site online and it really was quirky, everything was hand made from recycled materials, and it really appealed. I found it straight away and was met by the owners who were super friendly. I followed one of them on his modified monkey bike up a dirt track where she showed me to my pitch. Another lovely spot in the woods so I'd dropped lucky again.

I got the laptop out and set up on a makeshift desk and bench by my tent. Sat in the evening sun, in the peace and quiet, really was a great environment to work in.

I methodically worked through all features that the product will have, that I'd listed out earlier. I then added more detail for each, and how it would work practically. If possible then I wrote a manual way for this to be done initially; then how it could work automatically later. The point of doing that is that at launch, you don't need to have everything automated. Once you've proven the product is a success, you spend the time automating everything. This vastly cuts down the amount of work involved for the launch, and you prove the business model before investing any more time and/or money.

I also enlisted the help of social media to see what people thought. I asked what were the top 5 features that people would want from this kind of product. The results were interesting and one feature in particular (finding inspiration of what to write) seemed key. This is something I'd initially thought would be a nice to have but it looks to be pretty essential now.

The next stage was to take this full list of features, and cut it to down so the end result is a)Still a great product that people want; and b)Physically possible to do in time for the launch.

Features we're going to have at launch of the product is as follows:



"Inspire me" functionality

Writing page with displayed word count (and alert when you hit 750)

View all your previous writing.

Show stats of your writing (total word count, words per minute etc)

Email reminders (if you don't do it)

Social media sharing

Gamification (with awards for milestones etc)

Free trial mechanism

Method for taking recurring payments

And to achieve the above here's what I need to do before the launch on Friday.

Prelaunch website. So I can notify interested people when it launches.

Execute a marketing campaign to get prelaunch signups.

Create web application with all features listed above.

Setup website hosting and cloud storage for web app.

Setup payment mechanism.

Setup email alerts service.

Design and implement gamification model.

Upcoming and next stage features will be as follows:

Referral mechanism for viral marketing.

Motivational welcome messages.

Automated payment mechanism.

More gamification

Also log distractions.

Show feedback after writing (e.g. from words used you appear happy etc).

Feedback with pretty graphs.

Show a live timer and ability to set a fixed duration for writing.

Allow you to build teams so you and friends can motivate each other.

Leaderboard of top users (most words etc).

So that's it for another day. Tomorrow is slightly less taxing (I say that now at least!) which is coming up with the name for the product. I'll also be heading to Aviemore so am expecting to travel through some lovely scenery.

I'm also sharing my thoughts "live" on social media, and on Periscope. You can find me on most platforms as "richardjeaton" so do come say hi on Instagram, Twitter, or Periscope.